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What makes Aero lightning fast?

Richard Bendelow

Here at Aero, we often use the phrase ‘lightning fast’ when referring to the speed of our platform.

So, we decided to quantify what we mean by lightning fast.

According to the Met Office, while the flashes we see from a lightning strike travel at the speed of light (670,000,000 mph), an actual lightning strike travels at a comparatively gentle 270,000 mph.

This means it would take about 55 minutes to travel to the moon, or around 1.5 seconds to get from London to Bristol.

As it happens, the time it takes for lightning to get from London to Bristol is the same time on average it takes for a page to load on an Aero store.

But under the hood of Aero, what’s actually happening? Let’s take a look at our most intensive page, the listings page.

The listings page

To get the data required for this page, Aero needs to go to our indexing system (Elasticsearch) to find all of the:

  • Relevant products (based on the requested category, collections of tags or a specific search term).
  • Image locations.
  • The complex pricing structure for each product that factors in who the customer is and the relevant tax rates they will need to pay.
  • The published state of the products

It then needs to:

  • Sort this data based on the merchandising parameters set by the marketing team
  • Aggregate the faceted navigation filters that are again relevant to the products currently returned (nothing more and nothing less)

It has to do all of this in fractions of a second as we don’t want to cache these results — live data is a must in busy ecommerce sites.

This is where the speed of Aero is proven, as the longer it takes for a platform to return this data the longer it is going to take to render the page, no matter how much front end optimisation is done. With a good-sized data set (tens of thousands of SKUs) we are able to return relevant data in around 1/100th of a second to our listings page, ready to be rendered on the front end.

In 1/100th of a second, lightning will travel 0.75m and Aero will provide all the data required to render a very complex listings page.

So now you know what lightning fast looks like, the question is — how is it possible?

It all comes down to the lean core that was designed into Aero.

Aero’s Core

The Aero platform is built on the PHP framework Laravel, and we designed it to give retailers everything they need — but not cluttered it up with features that bloat the core and slow it down.

We’ve used a modern technology stack incorporating Composer, Node.js, Nginx/Apache, MySQL/MariaDB, and as mentioned previously, Elasticsearch. That means Aero’s building blocks are all geared towards making sites deliver what consumers want in the blink of an eye.

Speed makes the difference between sales and lost opportunities in ecommerce, which is why we’re happy to be setting the benchmark of ‘lightning fast’ that retailers need.

If you want to learn more about how we’re changing the future of ecommerce at Aero, get in touch or follow us on LinkedIn here.

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